Soil health will be a focus during the upcoming conservation tour hosted in partnership by the Shiawassee Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Shiawassee County Farm Bureau. The Conservation Tour will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15, beginning at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds in Corunna at 8:30 a.m.

The morning will begin with a stop at Al-Par Peat Co. Al-Par Peat is currently working to control invasive Phragmites on their property. Phragmites is a wetland plant that can grow to over 15 feet tall and develop dense, impenetrable stands. It is originally from the Eurasian region of the world and likely transferred to the United States through the trade industry (either intentionally or unintentionally). If left untreated, Phragmites infestations will crowd out native species, damage fish and wildlife habitat, and potentially decrease property values.

Drainage water management planning and structures will also be showcased on the tour. Drainage water management is the process of managing water discharges from agricultural tile systems. With drainage water management, both water quality improvement and production benefits are possible. Water quality is improved by minimizing unnecessary drainage, reducing the amount of nitrate that leaves farm fields. Drainage water management systems can also retain water in fields that can be used for crop production later in the season – when it is needed.

This year’s tour will also feature a soil pit demonstration by Jim Marshall, NRCS Area Biologist and Jerry Grigar, NRCS State Agronomist. Attendees will be able to view a cross section of a soil pit to learn about soil structure and how activities on the surface affect what is going on underground.

“We work one on one with landowners to develop meaningful conservation plans, and implement conservation practices on their land and in their farming operations,” said Tina Tuller, NRCS District Conservationist. “We look forward to showcasing the successes area farmers have been making in conservation and sharing how we have helped them protect our natural resources.”

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds. Busses will leave promptly at 9 a.m. and return to the fairgrounds for lunch, with the program ending at 2 p.m. Three Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) credits and a MAEAP Phase 1 credit will be offered.

Please contact the Shiawassee Conservation District at (989) 723-8263, ext. 3 to RSVP for this free event by Sept. 8 and for further information.

Conservation Tour on September 15 was last modified: September 6th, 2016 by Karen Elford